Health and Wellness Moves to Extremes

Research shows evidence of consumer polarization in beliefs and behaviors related to health and wellness

Harleysville, Pa. ( November 18, 2003) -- The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), the leading provider of strategic consulting and market research services in the health and wellness industry, today expanded on one of the trends it has identified as having a significant effect on the health and wellness marketplace. The trend is the first in the series of “NMI’s Top 10 Trends of 2004.”

Trend #1: American Population Exhibits "Wellness Polarization"

During the past year, consumer beliefs shifted away from more moderate attitudes about health and wellness and toward opposing ends of the spectrum, according to NMI’s president, Maryellen Molyneaux. “The patterns we’ve documented in consumer migration lean toward ‘holistic integration,’ on one side, and ‘seize the day’ on the other.” Molyneaux explains that uncertainty caused by factors including continued national security threats, the struggling economy, and many other external events have helped to polarize consumers. “These factors have caused individuals to reexamine what motivates them. As so, many consumers have decided they care more deeply about health and wellness, while others will forgo these efforts for the sake of other priorities” said Molyneaux.

According to annual research studies of 2,000+ American households, NMI has identified five health and wellness population consumer segments. They are:

1. WELL BEINGS(TM) – Who choose health first by all means across most wellness products, services and lifestyle activities, 21% of the GP;

2. FOOD ACTIVES(TM) – Who are dedicated to health through food. These consumers are driven by a desire for balance of diet, exercise and supplementation, 16% of the GP;

3. MAGIC BULLETS(TM) – Who desire health, but primarily through the easiest means available, 20% of the GP;

4. FENCE SITTERS(TM) – Who are neutral on most health issues, 18% of the GP; and

5. EAT DRINK AND BE MERRYS(TM) – Who seek immediate gratification, and who are unconcerned about health or the products they use, 25% of the GP.

In 2003, the WELL BEINGS(TM) segment grew to 21 percent of the general population from 17 percent in 2002, while the EAT, DRINK & BE MERRYS(TM) segment increased to 25 percent from 20 percent. The other three segments declined slightly during this time.

“Ultimately, the increase in healthful behaviors exhibited by WELL BEINGS(TM) is good news for the health and wellness industry, as they are the group that spends the most on healthy products,” states Molyneaux. “When one fifth of the population adopts such a behavior, it has mainstreamed. We would also expect to see these attitudes and behaviors increase as the population ages.” This attitude and increase was also confirmed in

NMI’s 2003 LOHAS study where the top wellness segment (LOHAS consumers) increased to 32% of the general population from 30% in 2002. These LOHAS consumers are those who are concerned about the health of their family, their community, and the planet and desire to purchase from companies that have the same values.

NMI's Top Trends of 2004 are the result of the company’s fifth annual Health and Wellness Trends Database™ and 2nd annual LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) Consumer Trends Database™, both based on research studies from 2,000+ U.S. consumer households. The databases are nationally projectable to the general population and statistically valid to +/- 2%.


Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.